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Review

François Couture, AllMusic, 1 juillet 1998

In 1995 singer/saxophonist Joane Hétu released a CD titled Castor et Compagnie, which premiered her new avant-rock formation, the first after the dissolution of Justine. The title was promoted to the status of band name and the follow-up Mets ta langue (Put Your Tongue) was thus billed to both Hétu and Castor et Compagnie. This second offering persists in erotic themes, but this time incorporates more free improvisation and overall a more acoustic, warmer sound. The album’s magnum opus, the three-part Beauté, a reflection on the fact that beauty doesn’t always have to be beautiful, may very well be Hétu’s finest moment as a composer. The piece draws from sensual rhythms, avant-rock riffs and vocal parts from all four musicians to form one of the best tracks released on an Ambiances Magnétiques record in the late 1990s. Dans la joie l’amour has a strange vocal leitmotiv uttered by percussionist Pierre Tanguay throughout, over which ephemeral melodies are layered. The album ends on Ta manière, another very strong piece, sensual but also angular in the Justine tradition, an eight minute epic. Of course, Hétu’s voice is still a case of love-it-or-hate-it and, paradoxically, she is more convincing when using extended techniques then when she plainly sings, but the album also showcases the voices of Tanguay, saxophonist Jean Derome and keyboardist Diane Labrosse (who regularly graced some Justine and Wondeur Brass songs). Mets ta langue is impressively mature work and a delight for the aficionado of avant-gardist song writing. Strongly recommended.

Mets ta langue is impressively mature work and a delight for the aficionado of avant-gardist song writing.

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